Senate leadership won't stop Puno probe-A A +A
Wednesday, September 12, 2012
MANILA -- There are no plans for now to stop Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago from investigating controversies surrounding resigned Local Government Undersecretary Rico Puno despite lack of procedures needed to launch a probe.
But Senator President Juan Ponce-Enrile said a senator may question the probe’s legality, noting that the impending investigation lacked the support of a resolution, privilege speech or a bill.
"We want to find out what is sought by the lady senator could be done. Normally, there is an oversight of that committee. That oversight can function to conduct evaluation of the performance of the offices involved. But I think it has an oversight function. We will not stop it but we're going to study this," Enrile said.
Last Monday, Santiago said she need not file a resolution because she is the chairperson of the committee that called for the hearing.
"If I were asking some other committee with some other chair, I would have to file a resolution," said Santiago, head of the committee on constitutional amendments and revision of laws.
Puno and other government officials are expected to attend Friday's probe at the Senate session hall as topics include the former DILG official's supposed involvement in the failed "raid" on former Local Government Secretary Jesse Robredo's condominium unit and anomalous bidding of assault rifles for policemen.
Meantime, Catholic bishops are not in favor of the reported plan of President Benigno Aquino III to appoint Puno to another position.
The President said Wednesday that Puno wishes for a "quite job."
Sorsogon Bishop Arturo Bastes, member of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines Permanent Council, said Puno should not be given a new post since is he is a subject of an investigation.
For his part, retired Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Oscar Cruz said giving Puno another position in the government would only mean that KKK or kabarilan, kaibigan, kaklase [shooting buddy, friend, classmate] is true.
"His competence and management skills have been all along disproven. If he will be given another assignment, that's another affirmation of the KKK," he said.
Marbel Bishop Dinualdo Gutierrez said Puno should not be appointed to another post because of his incompetence.
There were reports that Puno will be transferred to the Department of Agriculture, but Malacañang denied it.
President Aquino said the only sure thing is Puno's participation on the investigation on the multi-billion assault rifle deal.
"Well, I want that the entire process be checked and I want to check why it resulted to this? So everyone involved will be subjected to investigation to know what happened to the rifle," he said.
Bartolome ‘not ready’
On the other hand, Puno's rumored successor, Philippine National Police (PNP) Director General Nicanor Bartolome, is reportedly not keen on accepting the post left by the resigned official.
The President himself, in an interview in Camp Aguinaldo, said the PNP chief "seemed not ready" for the DILG post.
Bartolome graced two awarding ceremonies in Camp Aguinaldo on Wednesday wearing only barong and black pants, instead of his usual service uniform, raising speculations on his possible exit in the police service.
However, Bartolome asked the media not to put meaning to his attire, saying he wore the barong because he was going to read a citation for an award finalist who had the same outfit.
He declined to answer questions regarding his possible appointment in the DILG, which is viewed by some sector as a demotion for Bartolome, who is retiring from the police service in March next year.
If he accepts the President's offer, he will be taking an early retirement to give his replacement enough time to prepare for the May 2013 elections.
Bartolome is said to be having second thoughts about accepting the DILG post as he has plans to run as congressman of Tarlac.
Sources said the President is eyeing PNP Deputy Director General Arturo Cacdac for the DILG post if Bartolome turns down his offer.
Aquino said it is crucial to appoint a replacement for Puno immediately since the DILG has only two undersecretaries unlike other agencies.
Austere Panadero is the remaining undersecretary of the DILG handling local government.
"There is no person there (in-charge of PNP) designated and I think Secretary Roxas will be the right person to designate his undersecretaries. But the problem is he needs to assume his post before he could designate his own team," Aquino said, referring to newly appointed Interior Secretary Manuel Roxas II. (Virgil Lopez/Jill Beltran/Emmanuel Louis Bacani/FP/Sunnex)